PGA Tour confirms controversial rule change after Rory McIlroy took LIV Golf dig

The PGA Tour announced it will go ahead with plans to roll back the golf ball, a controversial move which was met with opposition – but four-time major champion Rory McIlroy defended it

Following Rory McIlroy’s defense of the controversial decision to roll back the golf ball and jab at LIV Golf, claiming that “money talks,” the PGA Tour has announced that it will proceed with the move.

In recent months, there has been a heated debate about how the golf ball is evolving. Officials are concerned about courses being overtaken by players’ ever-increasing hitting distance. The modification, which was originally only going to be implemented in professional golf, is now also going to be implemented at the amateur level.

Following the rejection of plans for bifurcation—professionals and amateurs using different equipment—the rule was decided to be implemented at all levels. Now, in an effort to shorten the distance at which the ball is hit, the R&A and the PGA of America plan to implement technological modifications.

Commissioner Jay Monahan of the PGA Tour wrote a letter to members on Wednesday regarding the USGA and R&A’s decision to roll back the golf ball. The modification will go into effect in January 2028 and provide a recreational allowance through 2030. According to Monahan, the announcement made today “takes into account previous feedback from the PGA Tour, which we believe is not in the best interests of the game as a whole and relates to a Model Local Rule related to golf ball conformance.”

The letter ended, saying, “We will also continue our efforts to understand how course set-up, design, and other competitive characteristics can help mitigate the effects of distance while also providing the opportunity for a diverse skill set to succeed at the highest level. We are doing this by using the breadth of ShotLink data.”

Following McIlroy’s endorsement of plans to roll back the golf ball, the PGA Tour made its decision. The four-time major winner also used the occasion to poke fun at LIV Golf, the profitable breakaway tour supported by Saudi Arabia that has split the golf community.

McIlroy wrote on X, “I don’t understand the anger about the golf ball roll back.” The average golfer won’t notice a difference at all, and it returns golf to a sustainable path. Additionally, it will aid in the resurgence of some pro-game abilities that have been lost over the previous 20 years.

The Northern Irishman also talked about the rejection of the split and proposed a connection between it and the increasing power of money in the game, a subject that has gained more attention with the emergence of LIV Golf. “Those who are upset about this decision should be mad at elite pros and club/ball manufacturers because they didn’t want bifurcation,” McIlroy continued. “They shouldn’t be mad at the governing bodies.”

That choice was made available to us earlier this year by the governing bodies. Despite the fact that the game is already divided, elite players and ball manufacturers believe that bifurcation will have a negative impact on their bottom lines. Do you believe we play the same games as you? They exerted pressure on the authorities to reduce it to a level that is more manageable for all. Everyone agreed that splitting up would be the best course of action, but in this game, money talks.

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